Pursuing Your God Ordained Purpose
â€œâ€¦ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart â€¦â€ (Jeremiah 1:5)
â€œâ€¦ for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world â€¦â€ (John 18:37)
Sometimes I feel kind of adrift â€“ like I donâ€™t know what comes next. Iâ€™m sure itâ€™s a common feeling, but still, itâ€™s a pretty big confession coming from a guy who writes a weekly letter thatâ€™s supposed to be all about purpose. If Iâ€™m the purpose guy and I feel adrift at times, I can imagine that other folks must feel unmoored every now and then too.
Of course, itâ€™s just a feeling. Iâ€™m not adrift. Not in any sort of cosmic way. The universe has its act together a lot more than you may think. It operates according to Godâ€™s plan and purpose. Thatâ€™s more than I can say for my own life at times. Any time I feel adrift, Iâ€™ll bet itâ€™s because Iâ€™ve cut a few ropes.
Remember last week I talked about being a steward of our little piece of Godâ€™s big plan? As much as the priests of academia want us to believe that the universe is an accident – itâ€™s not. It was created on purpose and with purpose. Every galaxy, every planet, every living thing, every atom â€“ all on purpose and all with purpose. The universe shouts purpose; itâ€™s impossible not to hear it. Unless of course â€¦ youâ€™ve set yourself not to listen.
That means we were created on purpose and with a purpose too. And Iâ€™m not just talking about â€˜mankindâ€™ in general. Iâ€™m talking about you and me, individually. You have a specific reason for being here. Me too. Each of us is an integral part of Godâ€™s plan and purpose in the universe.
Statements like that usually go over the heads or their audience. Who can blame the audience? My life, little olâ€™ me â€“ an integral part of Godâ€™s plan for the universe? How am I supposed to comprehend something like that? Iâ€™m not even sure my vote for President counted, and now you want me to believe Iâ€™m part of Godâ€™s master-plan for the universe?â€™
Thatâ€™s what the book says. Over and over again. Exodus 9:16; 1 Chronicles 23:5; Job 36:5; Psalm 57:2; Psalm 138:8; Proverbs 19:21; Isaiah 10:7; Isaiah 46:10; Isaiah 46:11; Isaiah 55:11; Jeremiah 15:11; Luke 7:30; Acts 2:23; Acts 13:36; Romans 8:28; Romans 9:11; Romans 9:17; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:11; Ephesians 2:15; Ephesians 3:11; Philippians 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; 1 Timothy 2:7; Revelation 17:17; Hebrews 6:17; 2 Timothy 1:9. Itâ€™s not a complete list, but go ahead and look them up â€“ youâ€™ll get the idea.
So, in light of â€˜Thriving in Tough Timesâ€™ how does me being a part of Godâ€™s plan for the universe relate? Ummm â€¦ youâ€™re part of Godâ€™s plan for the universe.
Let that sink in for a second. What exactly are you worried about? Things going wrong? Understanding that God had you in mind before He spoke the first atom into existence kind of puts problems like paying the rent and buying groceries into perspective.
Sure, you still have to pay rent and buy groceries, but thatâ€™s not what your life is about. Thatâ€™s why Jesus cleared up the details about rent and groceries early on:
â€œâ€¦ do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? â€œConsider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. â€œDo not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.â€ (Luke 12:22-32)
God knows you need to pay the rent and buy groceries, but the purpose He planned for you is bigger than rent and groceries. When you focus on fulfilling His purpose for you (â€œseek his kingdomâ€) first – rent and groceries come as part of the package.
But what about the rent and groceries? What if the landlord is at the door and the butter on your bread is getting a little thin? How do you deal with meeting your daily needs while youâ€™re fulfilling Godâ€™s purpose for your life? What if you donâ€™t know what God had in mind when He thought you up? How do you find out whatâ€™s next?
â€œAsk and it will be given unto you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.â€ (Mathew 7:7-8)
Thriving in tough times isnâ€™t hard if youâ€™re well connected. And believe me, you are.
Worried about the rent and groceries? Donâ€™t â€“ thatâ€™s what pagans do. Ask â€“ thatâ€™s what heirs to Godâ€™s kingdom do. Canâ€™t figure out your purpose in life? General Motors and Bank of America canâ€™t help you there. Seek â€“ Godâ€™s been waiting since the Big Bang for you to get started on what Heâ€™s got planned for you. The door to your future seem too big to budge? Knock â€“ itâ€™ll open right up.
Hereâ€™s one hint I can give you from experience. Your lifeâ€™s purpose is doled out in days. You may not think youâ€™re embarked on some great cosmic purpose â€“ the thing God chose you to do. But youâ€™d be surprised; each day is preparation for the next. Whatever today holds for you, whatever the circumstance, there are three things you can do now to find and fulfill your purpose â€“ ask, seek, and knock.
â€œâ€˜For I know the plans I have for you,â€™ declares the Lord, â€˜plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.â€™â€ (Jeremiah 29:11)